Bush: rescue work in Hurricane Katrina-hit area "largely finished"

US President George W. Bush said on Thursday rescue work in the Hurricane Katrina-hit area "is largely finished," and the work of recovery "is moving forward".

He pledged that the federal government will cover "the great majority of the costs" of rebuilding Hurricane Katrina-ravaged cities along the Gulf Coast region, Xinhua informs.

"We will do what it takes, we will stay as long as it takes to help citizens rebuild their communities and their lives" throughout the area hit by the hurricane, Bush said in a televised speech broadcast live from New Orleans.

"There is no way to imagine America without New Orleans, and this great city will rise again," he was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

Bush said he has signed an order providing immediate assistance to people from the disaster area, and as of Thursday, more than 500,000 evacuee families have gotten emergency help to pay for food, clothing and other essentials.

The federal government would undertake a close partnership with Louisiana and Mississippi, New Orleans, and other Gulf Coast cities, so they can rebuild "in a sensible, well planned way."

The federal government would cover the great majority of the costs of repairing public infrastructure in the disaster zone, from roads and bridges to schools and water systems, he said.

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